Friday, June 25, 2010

FDF Volume 2 Issue 189 - System of a Down - Toxicity

I keep getting "take down" messages so I am taking away any links/images. Not sure what the issue is.

**album cover image removed**

By: March

Album - Toxicity
Artist - System of a Down
Key Players - Daron Malakian - guitars/vocals. Serj Tankian - lead vocals, keyboards. Shavo Odadjian - bass. John Dolmayan - drums.
Produced By - Rick Rubin and Daron Malakian

Release Date - September 4, 2001

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- A coworker of mine is of Armenian decent and had a cultural magazine with her this week that had a rather large article on Serj Tankain, so that lit the spark.

Overview - This was the third album released from the Glendale California formed band System of a Down. Often simply called System or SOAD, the four members of Armenian descent continued to blend progressive rock with their metal overtones and the results were huge. The events of September 11th only exacerbated the band. Songs from the album were seen as political rally cries only adding to the bands mystique. The band, all well spoken individuals, silenced critics. The album would debut at #1 on the United States and Canadian charts. The album was picked as the #1 album of the year by Spin Magazine and it would be nominated for a Grammy Award. It would go on to sell over 12 million copies worldwide. The album is the only SOAD cd that does not have a parental advisory sticker and continues to land on "most essential" lists in various print and on-line medium.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The albums with "Prison Song". A punchy guitar and slap drum before it halts and Tankian starts to whisper a few lines. This is repeated a few times before the band comes in with the chugging musical line. Tankian growls then the lyrics begin and Tankian and Malakian swap vocal lines while statistics on prison populations are quoted. The pace is ferocious and the band hardly lets up, but tosses in acoustic guitars to lull the listener, before it rips back to form. The band has set the tone both musically and content wise. "Needles" has an even more grinding guitar and the drums are hit awfully hard tipping off the bass line that is laid down. The chants come from the vocal and backing vocals, but the music is just so "heavy" you feel like you've been hit in the stomach and face at the same time. The vocals switch from almost spoken word to fully operatic range on "Deer Dance" still balancing the overall heaviness. The song hardly fades and "Jet Pilot" gets rolling. The bass is more up in the mix on this track and the band continues with the "quiet/loud" aesthetic. The band just pummels the listener with the mixture of tempos. The extended (well for a 2:06 run time) instrumental breakdown is a cool touch, but we are quickly brought back to reality with the feel. The track "X" begins with the drums and bass feeding off one another before the full band comes in. Tankian seems to sing about as fast as he has/can on the record to this point. Dolmayan has the speedy drum chops and the band follows his lead on yet another shorter track. The big single from the album (and most controversial) "Chop Suey!" opens with a ringing acoustic guitar before a second guitar and then the rolling drums. It all feels and sounds so pretty, but then we hit it hard and Tankian unloads. Vocally the song does switch gears from time to time and you hear some strings in the background, but all these just get you to appreciate the bands creative method of breaking down the song. "Bounce" starts with the chorus and its a chant of "Jump/Pogo" and "Bounce" and although keeping brief with the song, they fit in a lot. One of the longest tracks, the 4:00 long "Forest" follows. On the longer songs the band does not re-invent the wheel by any stretch. They work on "what works" expanding on the number of verses. We still get the explosive guitar bass and drums, so we don't get too off course. It is a mellow intro on "ATWA" with the lone guitar working with the bass before Tankian comes in hushed. He works with Malakian once more in tandem and after a bit it gets rowdy once more. "Science" seems to find the bass and guitar locked in to a tight set of progression in notes. Tankian gives the vocal bursts and the band always swells with him pushing the speed and volume of the song. "Shimmy"is just the same, but even shorter. The album's title track comes 12 songs in to the record. Released to rock radio its another just shining example of the power of SOAD. The quiet intro before everyone smashes down with the pounding drums, but we quickly "calm down" for the verse, but the chorus is just frantic. The band must be exhausted when they play live, as the heat they bring song after song, like "Psycho" just never seem to let up. The talent is very good and per the norm, they work as a collective so no one member is really the showcase player. The album closes with another song that hit radio "Aerials". A far more "mellow" song from the band, but it really can't be called mellow honestly. The tail end of the track is an instrumental section called "Arto (Bonus Track)" which runs close to two minutes beyond the end of Aerials.

Where are they now? - The band is currently on hiatus. This was announced in May of 2006 and the band played their final live show on August 13th The members were all comfortable with doing their own thing since SOAD had been active for over 10 years. In early 2010 Odadjian posted on his twitter asking "are you ready for System?" but Tankian was quick to respond that the band was still on hiatus. So, what are they, or have they been up to? Malakian and Dolmayan work together in the band "Scars on Broadway". Dolmayan also has an on-line comic book shop. Some links show it as being going through a re-org, but you can look if you want for Torpedo Comics on line. Odadjian is working on/with a projected called Achozen and continues to work in art networking as well. Tankian has recorded two solo albums. The second is due in September of 2010. He also recorded a live album with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra that was released in March of 2010.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I have not seen the band live.

FDF Overall Take - Over all there is not a 'ton' of diversity on the record, but its just so very good. It is explosive musically and lyrically. Most people reading already have this I am sure, if not check out a sample to refresh your memory and "get on it".

Updated July 8, 2010.
I got two of these messages:
We have received a DMCA complaint for one or more of your blogs. Emails with the details were sent to you and all posts have been reset to "Draft" status (you may find them by selecting "Drafts" on the "Edit posts" page for each of the affected blogs). You may re-publish the posts with the offending content and/or link(s) removed. If you believe you have the rights to post this content, you can file a counter-claim with us. For more on our DMCA policy, please click here. Thank you for your prompt attention.

I removed the mp3s right away and re-posted the other content. There are no music samples so I am unsure why I got ANOTHER one today?? Thus, the tail end of what is normally seen in these posts has been modified.

Thank you for not deleting my post fully, but can you tell me what my second offense was?

Both removed, they were to the bands official page and myspace pages.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Nothing this week.

Had clients in the office all week that heavily cut in to my listening and writing time. We shall be back next week.

Friday, June 11, 2010

FDF Volume 2 Issue 188 - Lit - Atomic

By: March

Album - Atomic
Artist - Lit
Key Players - Allen Shellenberger - drums. Kevin Baldes - bass. Jeremy Popoff - guitar+vocals. A.Jay Popoff - lead vocals.
Produced By - Dan Gilmore & Lit

Release Date - October 16, 2001

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Most folks if they know the band tend to gravitate to the break out record, but I decided to mix it up.

Overview - This was the 3rd album from Fullerton, California based band Lit. This album was the follow up to the bands mainstream break through "A Place in the Sun" that had the track "My Own Worst Enemy". This album would peak at #36 on the Billboard Top 200 chart.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)

The album starts with "Something To Someone" a track that slowly builds and a live crowd begins to cheer, then helicopters seem to appear before the machine gun guitar rips over the top. The bass comes over with drums and the band quickly locks in to a very pop punk track. The drums are pushed towards the front and are not overly complex, but maintain the solid hard hitting you'd want. The chorus offers some decent harmonies, a trend that will appear later in the record as well. A. Jay's vocals are perfect for the music, he can get up there in range, but keeps the punkish feel to it. This track is actually long for the record at over four minutes as well. "The Last Time Again" opens with a sort of tricked out guitar effect before the band and vocals come in. It is a little choppier of a song, with more of a "chug chug" from the guitar before the big chords fill it out. The chorus is strong though. The listener will continually get strong harmonies and this is again, a strong example. The get a guitar break down and the band changes gears for a moment, but comes right back to the earlier feel. "Addicted" begins with a choppy guitar again, before a second guitar gives the chords over that. The bass and drums over a big sound, but the song doesn't seem to be as interesting as the other two. Vocals continue to be strong and it is funny to listen to the lyrics. One of the radio singles came in "Lipstick and Bruises" which is next. A song about the abuse of women starts off with a big guitar and a full band run down. The band is really tight on this, firing off each other and the urgency in the lyrics and music gives you a full package, this is what the band is about. The guitars on this are pretty darn happening, check it out. The vocals start right up on "Everything's Cool". It's just vocals and a lone guitar before the band joins. We find the band in the comfort zone once more. The track hammers along, but never gets overly creative. Sure everyone, and everything sounds good, you are just sort of ready for a little more. Acoustic guitars and more of a campfire sing along are how you hear "Happy In The Meantime". Just vocals and acoustic guitar make for a nice change. There are even strings to really bring out the sound. The drums do come in, but are for cymbal rolls only. The "rock" returns on the fuzzy "Drop D". A funny homage to a style of guitar tuning at the time found in many nu metal bands. The early parts of the lyrics are funny towards the genre, but never really elaborate on the song title, which you'd think would be an easy way out. "Sunny Weather" has a punchy bass line that is a little buried in the mix, but if you pick up on it you'd notice it all the time. The guitar has more of a "surf" sound to it (but not a lot) the distortion seems to be out of the guitars this time around. The song hardly fades as "Next Time Around" comes up. The bass chugs heavy on this track with the slap of the drums and it compliments the prior track really well. There is a guitar "solo" on this track which is really a surprise. When you hear it you realize the other tracks have been void of it. The guitars once again have more of a chime to them as "Slip" begins. The second guitar gives more of the flash and vibrato. The lyrics are a little looser on this more "ballad" feeling track but the rock returns on "She Comes". The big guitars and booming drums, but as the lyrics stop everyone slows way down and lays back some but switches around a fair amount with the tempo. The guitar loops and plays off the bass and drums on the intro to "Live For This". Another mid tempo track but never is timid about opening it up from time to time. The album closes with the song that I just can't get enough of the last few days of re-listening to this record. A slow vocal phase brings up "Over My Head" and it just launches. The song is sung very quickly, the band is tight and the highlights is the chorus. Filled with harmonies I'll toss it out there...Steven Tyler of Aerosmith lends his pipes. If you listen you'll pick him right out. Its a terrific sing along and A+ album closer. How this song was not huge is beyond me..seriously.

Where are they now? - The band is still active today, but are currently unsigned. The only line up change has been with Shellenberger. Shellenberger passed away on August 13, 2009 after suffering from a brain tumor. As early as April 2010 the band was interviewed saying a major label would/should have their next release and they'd be performing new songs live.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- If I saw them ever it would have been at a festival, radio station show, but I don't really know for sure. I am going with a no on this.

FDF Overall Take: There is a lot of that sort of "rinse/lather/repeat" with this record and in a sense that is okay. The band uses just some simple quick chords to get the point across musically. They keep within their boundaries and don't alienate the listener. Perfect record for the early part of your summer BBQ.

Curious? Check out some music!

mp3's have been removed.

Lipstick and Bruises
Over My Head

Tracks were taken from "Atomic" which you can buy here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request

Friday, June 04, 2010

FDF Volume 2 Issue 187 - 311 - 311

By: March

Album - 311
Artist - 311
Key Players - Count SR - vocals/dj. P.Nut - bass. Timothy Mahoney - guitar. Chad Sexton - drums, percussion. Nicholas Hexum - vocals, guitar
Produced By - Ron Saint Germain

Release Date - July 25, 1995

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I actually wanted to do their debut, but couldn't seem to track it down. I have it, just can't find it.

Overview - This is the bands proper major label debut. It is called by many "The Blue Album". The band had a string of early albums do rather well sales wise and this record would catapult the band into the collective conscience of fans around the word. This album would go on to sell over 3 million copies.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - Opening with "Down" (a track that still gets heavy radio play) the buzzy guitar sets the tone, and the slap happy drums from Sexton are high in the mix. 311 has sort of a trade mark piccolo snare snap to all their tunes. By the verse the band uses not quite call and response, but offer the vocal blending of Hexum and Count SR. The bass and guitars fire as one to lead to a quick stop before the verse resumes. Sexton's rat a tat drums start up "Random" and the buzzy guitar comes in, but is layered with a second guitar that rings over the top. The bass and drums seem to work in tandem pushing the Hexum rapped lyrics forward. SR and Hexum work in good tandem giving the hiphop/rap rock tune its push. The bass chugs heavily on "Jackolantern's Weather" and after a funky intro the guitar chops in and the lyrics come out at a machine gun pace. Another radio staple is "All Mixed Up" which starts with sort of a funky radio being tuned, and then a funky, beach bum, sounding guitar. It is the most laid back track (at the start) we have heard so far. Come the chorus the guitar gets a little heavier and the bass gets a neat "snog" to it as the rapped lyrics are bounced around. Its a perky, great single. "Hive" sounds a little more raw, than some of the others. The style of the music is similar to what you are used to,but the lyrics seem to be as fast as they've been on the record. The band doesn't seem to break out of their mold and comfort zone, but it fits the style so you don't mid so much. The track title is also key to fans, as they can join the bands fan club simply called "The Hive". You can hardly tell the switch in to "Guns (Are for Pussies)" which jumps right out at you. It has the fast rock/rap feel and the band tosses in some background noise from time to time to mix things up. A more "deep" guitar starts up "Misdirected Hostility" meaning it seems to have more of a bass tone to it. It doesn't do a lot, and sorta feels played out honestly. The band changes a little direction on "Purpose" but still stick with what works. Slapping drums and buzzy guitars. "Loco" has the same vibe as the prior track. "Brodels" has a slower tempo, but is still in the same vein as the bands bouncy self. Another big single from the record was "Don't Stay Home" which is a fun romp of just the right blend of the guitar and drums. The chorus is a little more bouncy, and lighter not locking in to this pushy forced vocal delivery. As the song heads towards the end the vocals are pushed a little more, looking for some harmonies which is a touch we haven't really heard on the album. There is a fun instrumental break down as well that adds a nice touch. "DLMD (Don't Let Me Down)" is one of the only tracks that starts right away with vocals as the band comes in. They are aggressive vocally on this, but are much more "ska" based on the track "Sweet". It has the guitar ring of a ska tune, but no horn section. The album closes with the rocker "T & P Combo". The band is locked in to a tight groove and the drums really seem to slap. The guitars run the frets and the bass just keeps it all in check. A decent album closer.

Where are they now? - The band is still together with these same members. They have released nine studio albums and continue to tour.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - In checking, I've actually never seen them live, which sort of surprises me.

FDF Overall Take - It is not bad, but when you listen to more than one song you realize the band doesn't get very creative. They sort of lock in to that same slap drum and buzzy guitar. It is not terrible in doses (a song or two) but it just gets almost annoying 6-7 songs in a row. Feel very much like "rinse-lather-repeat" for the duration of the record, you almost are begging to hear them do "something more".

The band's official site as well as myspace.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

the mp3s are removed..

Don't Stay Home

Tracks taken from the album "311" that you can buy here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.